SANDY SPRINGS — Entering the football season, Wesleyan had a number of questions on offense with just four returning starters. There may be some issues on special teams as well.
Penalties and special teams mistakes negated a solid defensive effort as the Wolves fell 10-9 Friday night against Holy Innocents'.
Jordan Weaver's 32-yard field goal gave the Wolves an early lead and capped a drive led by quarterback Will Anderson, who threw for a game high 239 yards. The Wesleyan defense starred in the first half as well, allowing 47 total yards in the first two quarters, including a stingy total of seven yards in the first quarter. The defense forced punts on all five first-half possessions by Holy Innocents', helping the Wolves to a 3-0 halftime advantage.
However, things started to tighten up literally and figuratively in the second half. Wesleyan had no fewer than seven players leave the game at some point with cramps, which put coach Franklin Pridgen in a bind.
"It was an injury nightmare for us," he said. "We started cramping and at one time we had almost our entire offensive and defensive line out,... and that caused us major organizational issues on the sideline."
Those issues led to 11 penalties, two of which came during an extra point attempt following an Anderson touchdown pass.
Following the score to Rhett Delk, the Wolves were called for two illegal substitution penalties and the subsequent extra point attempt was missed.
With a nine-point edge the Wolves had control but could not put the game away.
First, the Wolves yieldd a field goal following a long drive by Holy Innocents' to cut its lead to six.
Wesleyan later attempted to convert a fourth down close to midfield, but were stopped on a short rushing attempt. Five plays later, the game was tied as Holy Innocents' quarterback Luke Wright broke a tackle and ran it in from six yards out and the ensuing extra point put the Wolves down one at 10-9.
The visitors never got any offense going the rest of the way to fall in the season opener.